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Serious safety violations cause fatal forklift accident

It's been awhile since we last wrote about forklift injuries. In our March 1 post, we discussed the issue of safety training and how the lack of it can cause workers to be injured in forklift accidents.

This week, let's look at a fatal accident that recently occured in another state in which a worker was struck and killed by a forklift.

The accident occurred in New York, not Maryland. But given how commonly used forklifts are in warehouse and industrial settings, forklift accidents care common occurrences in Maryland and across the country as well. 

The workplace where the acciddent occurred was a pipe-producing plant. A truck driver who worked for another company was picking up a load. A forklift driver ran into the truck driver and the truck driver was killed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the accident. OSHA found that the pipe-producing plant, National Pipe, had committed 16 serious safety violations. 

As defined by OSHA, a serious violation is a violation in which the employer knows or should know that there is a "substantial probability" of a hazard causing death or physical harm.

In this case, two of the serious violations related directly to the fatal accident. OSHA inspectors found that the backup alarm on the forklift hadn't been working. In addition, the forklift driver at National Pipe lacked a clear view of where he was backing.

Inspectors found other safety violations as well at the manufacturing plant. OSHA has proposed penalties in the amount of $67,000 -- an amount that is obviously a pittance compared to the loss of a human life.

Source: WBNG, " OSHA cites National Pipe and Plastics following fatal accident," Candace Chapman, September 30, 2013

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